“Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, was among the first in the nation to address the opioid epidemic. He devoted his entire State of the State address to the crisis in 2014. Since then, his administration and many of Vermont’s private practice doctors have made treatment more available than it is in most of the country.
But it’s not enough.
In this state of about 626,000, almost 500 addicts are on waiting lists to receive medication for opioid dependence. More than half will wait close to a year.
Nationwide, a shortage of doctors willing to prescribe buprenorphine, which reduces drug cravings, and a federal limit on the number of patients they can treat, prevents many who could benefit from the addiction medication from getting it.
Where are the Doctors?
More than 900,000 U.S. physicians can write prescriptions for opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin by simply signing on to a federal registry. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants can also prescribe opioids.
But to prescribe buprenorphine to people who become addicted to opioids and heroin, doctors must take an eight-hour course and apply for a special license. So far, fewer than 32,000 doctors have received the license and the vast majority who have one seldom, if ever, use it.”
Source: HuffingtonPost.com – February 11, 2016